Review: Polaroid PL160 Flash

Since the decline of Polaroid film, the company has tried to restructure itself to focus on other photography accessories. Announced earlier this year, the Polaroid PL160 seemed like an extremely promising flash for a very affordable price point. Amongst the features are full TTL metering with Canon DSLRs, manual control, and an LED light to be used as both a modeling light or for video. Seems pretty good, right? I mean, what could possibly be wrong with that?

The answer: it depends on how advanced a flash user you are.

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The IMPOSSIBLE Project Makes Another Impossible Project Possible

Quite a while ago, some fans of the then-deceased Polaroid instant films announced that thy were going to re-develop and re-introduce these films for all those out there who weren’t quite ready to give up their beloved instant cameras yet. In the meantime, the IMPOSSIBLE project has been made possible, and a number of new instant film emulations have been marketed — black-and-white as well as color — that can be fed to various of the no longer made Polaroid instant cameras.

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The Impossible Project Releases New 8×10 Instant Film

(Top: Photo by Bill Phelps. Bottom: Photo by Chloe Aftel)

The Impossible Project’s story is one that is really inspirational in the photography world. With the death of Polaroid’s film, they tried to reverse engineer the process to continue the production of the film. Today, the company has announced that they are finally ready to release their PQ 8×10 instant film for large format cameras. As we stated before, we really need to keep medium format and large format film alive, and for the cool price of $189 US, you can score 10 sheets of this new film.

As is typical with Impossible Film though, we can probably expect the first batches to be nowhere as good as the improved formula they come up with in their, “cool” branding. Keep checking the Project’s shop for availability.

Also: not big enough for you? Take a look at the tour of the Polaroid 20 x 24 camera we did last year.

Five Reasons Why We Need to Keep Medium and Large Format Instant Film Alive

I’ve been experimenting this past week since it was #roidweek: I was playing around with my Polaroid 210 Land Camera and Fujfilm 100C and 3000B Instant film. On a whim, I took photos of friends, co-workers, people I just met at a bar, and landscapes during the rain. And with each pull of the 3 x 4 inch film through the rollers and enduring the waiting process of anywhere from 15 seconds to 2 minutes followed by the final reveal, I saw faces light up in people who were never even into the arts.

And though digital photography does give us something essential, we need to understand that photography is also about falling in love and that sentimentality coupled with acceptance of all formats and others needs to come first. After this past week, I feel that we need to keep parts of us as a photographic community as a whole alive.

Here are five reasons why we need to save Medium Format and Large Format Instant film.

Editor’s Note: Thanks for the Twitter and Email feedback. B&H Photo stocks this film by Fujifilm in both Color (ISO 100) and Black and White (ISO 3000). Let’s keep it alive.

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Cool Hack: Polaroid + Kodak Lens + Sugru = One Suped Up Polaroid Camera

Hacks are awesome: especially in the photography community. Lens hacks are even awesomer, like what I did for my Canon 5D Mk II. That’s why this hack appeals not only to the Polaroid lover in me but also the hacker. Filmwaster forum member Ludoo sugru’d  an old Angenieux 100/f4.5 off a broken Kodak 620 Special 6×9 and attached it to the front of his Polaroid Land camera. The results are an example of the photo to the right.

Doing this isn’t easy though; Ludoo still has to calibrate the rangefinder to work with the lens: and that’s easier said than done. There will be lots of trial and error going on there. Still, it would be awesome to see just where this goes.

Via the Filmwasters Forum

The Answer to Focusing Problems May Lie in the Past

No matter how great your camera’s focusing is, there is always something better that will come out. This has been the mantra of technology for years: however, in the digital age of photography, many companies are looking back to the past for ideas. And indeed, the past is repeating itself—translucent mirror cameras, the rise of rangefinder-type cameras, taking film models and simply making them digital, etc. With that in mind, you should consider two focusing systems that I’ve recently experienced myself that absolutely floored me.

However, they also left me scratching my head and wondering why we’re not using them right now.

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WestLicht Museum of Photography Purchases the International Polaroid Collection

Photo by Ansel Adams (Found on Westlicht’s site)

Nostalgia buffs rejoice! The International Polaroid Collection, which apparently was lost for years, has been found and purchased by the owner of the WestLicht Museum in Vienna (the same place as Lomography’s headquarter’s). The future of the unique Polaroid collection was apparently uncertain, though the press release doesn’t exactly say why.

So what does this mean to us? As photographers, whether we care to acknowledge it or not, Polaroid is a part of us and our history. Our roots are critical and this is something that is important to our history. With that said, it affects us in different degrees. Whether we’re using some really cool apps on our phone, shooting with Impossible film or some stored Polaroid, or not even embracing it at all: instant photography is now ingrained in us. Press release after the jump.

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Is The Film Revival Just Another Fad?

Film—according to the Associated Press, it’s back! Take a look at the walls of your Facebook friends or any of the recent trends in professional photography and you’ll see a lot of the Polaroid look with its cross processing characteristcs. Even advertising campaigns are using Polaroids! Admittedly, we’ve reviewed an instant film camera and an old Leica legend. Indeed consumers do dig the retro look of some cameras. Not at all meant to insult seasoned film shooters, but take a closer look at all the hysteria and you’ll begin to notice some still very familiar undertones.

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Review: Fujifilm Instax Mini 7s

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 7s is a small, simple, alien looking camera that also carries a sense of fun hipster-like appeal to it. This is perhaps the most non-traditional camera I’ve ever reviewed, but I can honestly tell you that I’ve never had this much fun reviewing a camera, ever. As a guy that tests cameras out for serious use, this was a great and welcome change of pace.

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A Tour of the Polaroid 20×24 Camera

As instant film make a resurgence and companies like the Impossible Project announce new products, it’s only reasonable that we take a look at a relic: the fabled 20×24 Polaroid film camera. Jennifer Trausch at 20×24 Studios in TriBeCa, NY was kind enough to offer a tour of the camera. As a studio that specializes in shooting art and ad campaigns with this giant beast of a camera, they’re often very busy.

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Kodachrome May Be Dead, But Color Polaroid Film Is Back

Even though Kodachrome is dead, film users, hipsters, and Lady Gaga acolytes will be happy to know that the Impossible Project seems to be alive and well. As shown in the video above, lovers of the nostalgic and unique film can get their hands on packs now. The film appears to have been improved as well as it isn’t temperature sensitive anymore.

Check out the video above. The gearhead in me wants that sexy camera bag and a collapsible, smaller camera like the one there. Hell, imaging a Micro Four Thirds model with a Polaroid attachment.

Via The Mijonju Show